Previously on this blog, I discussed why I thought watching both Sherlock pilots was an excellent exercise for film-makers.
A couple of weeks ago, I was afforded the opportunity to test this theory. My good friends at Realm Pictures had yet to see any of the Sherlock series and were therefore in an ideal position: they could watch the unaired pilot first, consider improvements, and then watch the aired version.
***As before, extensive episode content discussed beyond this point. WATCH FIRST.***
I shouldn’t try to predict my friends’ reactions. Also, seeing through fresh eyes and undergoing that experience with them gave me new perspective.
The first thing was that they felt the cab connection was obvious early (I watched it with friends the first time and nobody got it, but I’ve always been terrible at murder mysteries). They also preferred the first Sherlock meeting scene in the computer lab, but they may be down to taste.
They were not fond of the little text labels and the deconstruction of Sherlock’s deductions. One friend commented that Sherlock could just speak slower and save us going through the whole thing twice. However, we were all in agreement that the unaired pilot has no style – it is generic BBC drama in lighting and tone. However, the aired pilot has its own distinctive look and feel and, while that may not be to everyone’s taste, it does make it stand out (and the labelled deducing was largely phased out during the rest of the series).
They were successfully misdirected by Mycroft and we all found the last act much more satisfying for both narrative and Sherlock and John’s characterisation. It’s high drama instead of living room poison – and the fear of Sherlock’s own stupidity is much more potent.
Needless to say, they then had to watch The Blind Banker and my boxset has been kidnapped to Realmendell since then.
I’m jealous that they got to see it all for the first time. And that they don’t have to wait over a year for the resolution of that cliffhanger!